Grammy Winning Producer Nottz Raw Talks State of Hip-Hop
Nottz Raw is tired of the garbage that passes for Hip-Hop today. The famed Virginia based producer has worked with artists such as The Notorious B.I.G., J Dilla, and The Game and he is making it his personal mission to filter out the wackness of repetitive hooks and dance crazes that occupy radio playlists. He released his debut album You Need This Music last fall on Traffic Entertainment Group with positive critical reception, and has worked on a couple of tracks on the most anticipated album of the last decade, Dr. Dre’s Detox. The Grammy award winning producer spoke to Parlé about his influences, the power of social networking, and the current state of hip-hop.
Parlé Magazine: You released your debut album You Need this Music in October. After years of primarily being a producer, what made you decide to release your first record now?
Nottz: Last year alone kind of pissed me off. A lot of records were made and some strayed away from real Hip-Hop. There’s a lot of music out there that is trash. Our kids listen to this crap. I had to do it and I thought it was the best time to drop my solo record.
Parlé: You recently released the Rawth EP with Asher Roth, how did the idea for the project come about?
Nottz: Me and Asher have been recording anyways. My manager [Darryl Sloan] was the one who said that we should start a project together and that’s how it got started.
Parlé: Talk to me about the song “Nothing You Can’t Do”
Nottz: It’s a good record for the kids. I feel like if it was out there it would blow up. We just need to put a visual to it.
Parlé: You’ve worked with a lot of influential artists, whats the one collaboration you think had the biggest impact in your at a musical standpoint?
Nottz: Oh man. Roth, my dude Dilla, Dre, Diamond D, Kanye. There’s a lot of people that make good music that I respect.
Parlé: With social media websites like Twitter becoming increasingly popular, how important is an online presence to an artist’s career?
Nottz: It’s real important. There’s so many people on the internet, it’s so in your face. It’s so easy to get to people, especially twitter. I’m on twitter and people ask me all the time if it’s the real Nottz. They don’t believe that it’s actually me when I answer them back. I treat everyone the same no matter who they are, you need to have that connection with the fans.
Parlé: Your production is known for utilizing samples of 70s soul, what is it about that era’s music that’s integral to Hip-Hop today?
Nottz: The way they swang their drums, the way the base guitars sound. The way they stroked the keys on the piano. You got a lot of Hip-Hop elements in it. Look at Ghostface. He’ll take a song like that and just rap over it and it’s amazing. Young folks listen to it and they don’t know it’s an older record.
Parlé: I know you’ve probably been asked about this a thousand times but what is the status on Detox and when is it going to come out?
Nottz: Detox is Detox. He says it’s coming out and I believe him. There’s a joint on it I just heard that’s crazy.
Parlé: What are some project that you’re currently working on?
Nottz: I’m working on a song with Kardinal [Official] called “Seven” right now which is crazy and should be coming out soon. I’m also working on a record with Dwele and I got something with Pete Rock coming out.
Parlé: How do you feel about the younger generation of rappers like Soulja Boy and Waka Flocka Flame that are achieving success?
Nottz: I like it, but it’s a 360. We used to listen to Kid ‘n Play and MC Shan, but you listen to it now and it was wack. I still listen to MC Shan but you can’t take that music seriously. Nowadays people aren’t saying anything in their music. I’m not knocking their hustle but their music is trash. 9 out of 10 people who say it’s hot are dumb.
Parlé: Is there any artist out there that you would like to have a collaboration with in the future?
Nottz: Everybody. We need more people making honest music. It’s bigger than rap. I’m not the best rapper but I put myself out there and I’m honest and that’s what people look for.